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South Park PC Game Box

Revenge of the License: South Park

It took sixteen years, but we finally got a South Park game worth playing. South Park: The Stick of Truth is an utterly hilarious mash-up of childhood fantasy gone awry and modern gaming tropes. It’s a straight up legit way to kill several hours over the course of a long weekend, and it plays like an explosively big-budget episode of the cartoon. In short, it’s everything a fan of the TV show could want packed into a video game. Unfortunately for you, this is the last thing I’m going to say about it. Yes, this week I am talking about South Park. But I’m talking about the original South Park. The one programmed by Iguana and published by Acclaim. The first-person shooter from 1998. Yeah, sorry…that South Park. Please hold all your piss-laden snowball volleys until the end of the ride.

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Silent Hill Lives on in Half Life 2 through Alchemilla Mod with Oculus Rift Option

Silent Hill is one of those franchises that appeared during the 32-Bit Sony Playstation days that simply has not died, at least till recently.  Konami recently announced that the new Silent Hill title is more than likely not going to see the light of day (in Silent Hill, was there really any light?).  The horror franchise that spawned a bit of media expansion for Konami, something their other titles failed at doing for the most part, is probably only going to live on in mods created by fans, as long as Konami doesn’t go and start sending out cease and desist letters (which they are legally entitled to do).  Silent Hill: Alchemilla though, this is something unique that homebrew developers have created using the Source engine.  This homebrew release goes where fans never knew they really wanted the series to go- the Oculus Rift.

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Futurama the Great Unlicensed Adventure Awaits

Futurama is one of those cartoons for adults that was not quite as offensive as Family Guy but was not as family entertaining as The Simpsons. It is also one of the least ported to gaming cartoons that we have seen (it did get a PS2 or Xbox 3D action adventure but that is it).  For some reason the rich world of Futurama has not been ripe with videogame adaptations/interpretations.  Developers could, almost, literally write whatever wild loosely science fiction related story they wanted and it would probably work in the world of Futurama.  Now, a couple of new, unlicensed, adventure titles are in the works- both of which look rather interesting.

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Film Noir Gaming Brings Cyber Punk Action Shadowrun to the Super Nintendo – Today in History – May 1st 1993

Shadowrun was an interesting title for the Super Nintendo (Sega’s version is COMPLETELY different).  Partly because it predated their “Play it Loud” campaign by a full year, even though it had quite mature elements to it (for starters your guy just got axed/murdered/is dead).  Shadowrun is also unique in that it was a cyber punk adventure, no not something like, well there aren’t a lot of references on console for this genre (there is Snatcher but that was a completely different game).  This was an action/role playing game that did its best to bring the FASA tabletop game to the Super Nintendo.  While the industry gave Shadowrun rave reviews and multiple awards, the fans simply did not show up to support it at retail.  That is a shame because it is truly an interesting, if not over the head of the SNES’ target audience, action role playing game.

ASCII Logo

Wacky Wednesday: ASCII Grip

Suppose you designed a video game controller that was meant to be used one-handed: how might you go about marketing this new technological marvel? Well, you could discuss the merits of using said one-handed controller with regards to helping you map while playing an RPG, take notes during an adventure game, or even drink your favorite soda or chow down on a snack without having to dig crumbs out from the keypad later in the evening. Or you could just go straight for the lowest-common denominator, the way ASCII did in this ad for its ASCII Grip controller back in 1998…

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Super Mario Bros 2 Hits the Nintendo Entertainment System- Today in History: April 28th 1989

Nintendo was still new to the sequel rituals when they released Super Mario Bros 2 on the NES, and boy did they go away from the norm for what a sequel was supposed to be.  Being almost a complete departure from the original NES title, in Japan the title used for the US SMB2 was a completely different title, what was there in the North American version barely said this was a Mario title.  Barely.

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Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest Creeps onto the Nintendo Entertainment System- Today in History: April 27th, 1990

Taking place seven years after the original Castlevania, this installment takes a rather large departure from what fans knew from the first title.  Simon is on a pilgrimage to visit his family’s resting place and meets a lady that tells him that Dracula has placed a curse on the Belmont family (bummer).  Unlike the first title, Simon’s Quest is more of an adventure title than action oriented – Simon can talk with townsfolk and learn details and information about what to do, where to go/avoid and generally get cryptic tips (par for the course of an adventure title).

Time Trax Box

Revenge of the License: Time Trax

“These are the journals of Darien Lambert, Captain, Fugitive Retrieval Section, A.D. 2193.” With those words, we were introduced to actor Dale Midkiff’s action hero persona: a police officer from the future, sent back through time to retrieve Dr. Sahmbi, a renegade scientist using the past to hide from the law, and a cadre of 22nd century prisoners who assist him in his ventures. Because the 90s were a time of “anything goes” in the 16-bit gaming world, of course they made a video game out of it. This in and of itself wasn’t a bad idea–Time Trax being an action-oriented show featuring physical stunts and exploding set pieces lent itself to video game adaptation better than, say, Bebe’s Kids or The Wizard of Oz, both of which will likely get their turn in the spotlight around here when my editor wants to punish me for some transgression like ‘buying the wrong toilet paper’ or ‘going on vacation‘. But while designing a 2D platformer is simple, designing a good 2D platformer is a bit more complicated, something THQ and Malibu must have learned along their road to discovery.

Duke Nukem 3D Box

Today in Retro Gaming: Duke Nukem 3D (Shareware)

“Damn! Those alien bastards are gonna pay for shooting up my ride!” With those words, 3D Realms laid into the FPS genre with gusto. Bringing Apogee’s 2D side-scrolling, planet-saving hero into the third dimension to compete with the likes of Doom was no easy task considering the whole internet was ablaze with talk of iD software’s forthcoming tour-de-force Quake. Having neither the financial or star powers to go head-to-head with John Carmack’s juggernaut, executive producer George Broussard, designer Alan H. Blume III and lead programmer Todd Replogle struck at the one weakness they saw in the FPS genre’ss armor: a total lack of main characters with any defining characteristics whatsoever. It’s time to make memories and chew bubblegum…and we’re all out of bubblegum.

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Snatcher Being Ported to Nintendo Virtual Boy by Homebrew Developer

Snatcher, the digital comic that simply did not take off in North America like Konami would have liked.  Honestly, I cannot feign not understanding why it didn’t sell well.  First it was only available for an add-on device, the Sega CD, which did not exactly set sales records in the United States.  Second, it was not marketed all that well, I can only name one print advertisement that I saw for it and I am not sure I even saw that since I cannot find it in the 400+ gaming magazines I own.  Konami did have the balls to bring it to North America and, for that, they do command a bit of respect.  There is a homebrew developer that is looking to expand the platforms that Snatcher is available for by porting it to the Nintendo Virtual Boy of all things.


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